What Checking References—Or Not—Reveals about a Prospect

September 10, 2020

I recently spoke with a client about better discerning prospects whose sole concern is price.

His experience leads him to the conclusion that when a prospect doesn’t check with references which have been provided, then that’s an indication that the prospect is exclusively focused on price.

I hadn’t thought of this before, but the idea makes sense to me. If prospect checks your references, they’re interested in the “how” of what you do:  how you work with a client generally, your responsiveness, your ability to explain difficult concepts in plain English, or other intangibles which they value. They may sense you possess those intangibles they’re looking for because of the conversations you’ve had to that point, but they want to confirm them.

Further, checking with references takes time. The effort involved in emails or going back and forth with phone calls can be tedious. A client’s willingness to make this investment is probably a reliable indicator of a client who is not just serious, but one more concerned with a decision to buy grounded in perceived value instead of price.

My client’s hypothesis, I think, rings particularly true in an extraordinarily complex service offering where a client is particularly uncertain in deciding and where the cost of selecting the wrong provider is high.

If could be, on the other hand, that a prospect doesn’t check your references because you’ve got stellar testimonials so thoroughly documented that they’re no need to make a phone call. Such a circumstance is rare, though, as most professional services providers don’t spend much time at all cultivating and documenting testimonials.

So what’s the point? The point is that you’re better off, in your practice, spending time with prospects interested in making a value-oriented decision. Those are the clients willing to pay a price more reflective of your value and the ones who are much easier to work with.

How do these thoughts apply to your own business?


Image Credit:  JumpStory

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me:  I’m enthusiastic about how changes in pricing strategy can significantly change profitability for a business and enhance life choices for business owners. I live this passion through Ray Business Advisors, my outside CFO and business advisory practice, in which my pricing is exclusively value-based, not hourly. I work with business owners on how they can change their pricing not just to increase their profits, but better serve the wants of their customers. Click here to learn more or call me at 404-287-2627.

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